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Publication numberUS5349401 A
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 08/071,096
Publication dateSep 20, 1994
Filing dateJun 4, 1993
Priority dateJun 4, 1993
Fee statusLapsed
Also published asEP0627651A2, EP0627651A3
Publication number071096, 08071096, US 5349401 A, US 5349401A, US-A-5349401, US5349401 A, US5349401A
InventorsRobert S. Bryant
Original AssigneeEastman Kodak Company
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Orientation independent, detachable film cartridge, memory module
US 5349401 A
Abstract
A system for recording information related to the camera exposure parameters of film image frames in a detachable, disc-shaped, memory module attached to the end of a film cartridge loaded in the camera in non-volatile memory for subsequent read-out. A set of concentric, circular, conductive bands are spaced apart and electrically isolated from one another on the exposed surface of the disc-shaped module housing. An integrated circuit chip, including a non-volatile memory, within the module, has a plurality of input and output terminals connected to the plurality of concentric conductive bands. A camera receives the film cartridge and attached memory module in a cartridge receiving chamber and has a plurality of contact terminals positioned to make electrical contact with the respective plurality of concentric conductive bands. The camera electronic operating system provides the battery power and electrical signals to be stored in the non-volatile memory through contact of the plurality of contact terminals with the respective concentric conductive bands. The stored data may be read out through the concentric, circular conductive bands and employed in processing and/or making prints from the film in the cartridge.
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Claims(6)
What is claimed is:
1. A memory module for a film cartridge in which information related to the camera exposure of film image frames may be recorded in non-volatile memory for subsequent read-out comprising:
a disc-shaped module housing having an upper and a lower surface and a diameter generally corresponding to the diameter of an end of the film cartridge;
a printed circuit formed in the pattern of a plurality of concentric, conductive bands spaced apart and electrically isolated from one another on the upper surface of the disc-shaped module housing;
an integrated circuit chip, including a non-volatile memory, attached to the lower surface of the disc-shaped module housing and having a plurality of input and output terminals;
means for making electrical connections between the plurality of input and output terminals of the integrated circuit chip and the plurality of concentric conductive bands; and
means for attaching the disc-shaped module housing to the end of a film cartridge so that the upper surface is exposed for making electrical contact with data recording and reading terminals of camera and film processing equipment.
2. The memory module of claim 1 wherein the attaching means further comprises a disc-shaped layer of insulating material having a first surface for contacting and enclosing the integrated circuit chip and a second surface for contacting the end of the film cartridge, the second surface having an adhesive layer thereon for adhering the memory module to the end of the film cartridge.
3. The memory module of claim 1 wherein the integrated circuit chip comprises an electrically erasable programmable read only memory.
4. A system for recording information related to the camera exposure parameters of film image frames in a detachable memory module attached to a film cartridge loaded in the camera in non-volatile memory for subsequent readout, wherein the module further comprises:
a disc-shaped module housing having an upper and a lower surface and a diameter generally corresponding to the diameter of an end of the film cartridge;
a printed circuit formed in the pattern of a plurality of concentric, circular conductive bands spaced apart and electrically isolated from one another on the upper surface of the disc-shaped module housing;
an integrated circuit chip, including a non-volatile memory, attached to the lower surface of the disc-shaped module housing and having a plurality of input and output terminals;
means for making electrical connections between the plurality of input and output terminals of the integrated circuit chip and the plurality of concentric conductive bands; and
means for attaching the disc-shaped module housing to the end of a film cartridge so that the upper surface is exposed for making electrical contact with data recording and reading terminals of camera and film processing equipment; and
wherein the camera further comprises:
a camera housing for receiving the film cartridge with the attached memory module in a cartridge receiving chamber;
a plurality of contact terminals positioned by the camera housing to extend into the cartridge receiving chamber and bear against and make electrical contact with the respective plurality of concentric conductive bands; and
means for providing camera battery power and electrical signals to be stored in the non-volatile memory through the plurality of contact terminals and to the respective concentric conductive bands.
5. The system of claim 4 wherein the memory module further comprises a disc-shaped layer of insulating material having a first surface for contacting and enclosing the integrated circuit chip and a second surface for contacting the end of the film cartridge, the second surface having an adhesive layer thereon for adhering the memory module to the end of the film cartridge.
6. The system of claim 5 wherein the memory module integrated circuit chip comprises an electrically erasable programmable read only memory.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application discloses subject matter related to subject matter disclosed in commonly assigned U.S. Pat. application Ser. No. 09/,071,084 entitled ORIENTATION INDEPENDENT, DETACHABLE FILM CARTRIDGE, MEMORY MODULE filed on even date herewith in the name of J. David Cocca.

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to the field of photographic film cameras and film processing, and particularly to apparatus for providing non-volatile, electronic information storage and retrieval capabilities for a standard film cartridge.

2. Background of the Invention

As set forth in commonly assigned U.S. Pat. No. 5,032,854 to Smart et al., it is well known to provide limited information relating to film type and speed by means of a DX code or bar code imprinted on the exterior case or end of the film cartridge that may be electrically or optically read in to the camera's electronic control system. Such well known coding is employed to set exposure parameters of the camera automatic exposure control system, but is not useful in storing information related to the actual exposure made of an individual image frame in use of the camera.

In order to store such information, as well as the image frame identification to which it pertains, and other information automatically entered from the camera operating system or optionally entered by the camera user, it is necessary to employ a further writable and readable media in association with either the film or the film cartridge.

For example, commonly assigned U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,965,626 and 5,016,030 to Robinson et al. and Dwyer et al. (and applications listed therein) disclose photographic film incorporating magnetic read/write strips and read/write heads and systems incorporated into cameras and photofinishing equipment for storing and reading out a wide variety of data.

Alternatively, it has been proposed to magnetically read and write data on magnetic strips formed on the sides or an end of the film cartridge, as described, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,443,077 to Tanikawa.

More recently, it has been suggested that data may be stored and retrieved from non-volatile memory chips, e.g. an EEPROM, incorporated in an integrated circuit chip "card" as set forth in U.S. Pat. No. 5,036,344 to Inoue et al. The card may be separable from the camera and film cartridge or may be attached to the film cartridge as set forth generally in U.S. Pat. No. 5,070,355 to Inoue et al.

Alternatively, the storage of such information in "ROM-ICs" attached permanently or releasably to the sides or ends of film cartridges is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,032,855 to Taniguchi et al. The various embodiments of the ROM-ICs illustrated in the '855 patent are adapted to have a pattern of electrically conductive contact pads recessed in holes that are adapted to receive spring-loaded terminals when the cartridge is correctly positioned in the camera body or photofinishing equipment. The disclosed system operates to store and retrieve data from an EEPROM in the ROM-IC during the exposure of the film in the cartridge and its subsequent processing and the print making.

The disclosed embodiments of the '855 patent appear to require that the film cartridge be especially designed to have a film containing section and a ROM-IC containing section that is either permanently attached or releasably attached to the end of the cylindrical film cartridge. The releasable attachment methods presented appear to be positionally sensitive to obtain a precise orientation of the pattern of access holes and contact pads to the array of terminals. In order to facilitate this alignment, the film cartridges illustrated and described appear to be modified from the standard 35 mm cartridge.

The introduction of modified or non-standard film cartridges presents difficulties in acceptance and increases costs of manufacturing, distributing and stocking and may lead to customer confusion and dissatisfaction. The use of positionally sensitive end fitting modules as disclosed in the '855 patent leads to difficulties in accurately positioning the modules and errors in use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a read/write memory module for releasable attachment to the end of a film cartridge that may be employed with standard film cartridges and is not positionally sensitive.

In accordance with these and other objects of the present invention, a memory module for a film cartridge in which information related to the camera exposure of film image frames may be recorded in non-volatile memory for subsequent read-out is provided comprising: a disc-shaped module housing having an upper and a lower surface and a diameter generally corresponding to the diameter of an end of the film cartridge; a printed circuit formed in the pattern of a plurality of concentric, circular conductive bands spaced apart and electrically isolated from one another on the upper surface of the disc-shaped module housing; an integrated circuit chip, including a non-volatile memory, attached to the lower surface of the disc-shaped module housing and having a plurality of input and output terminals; means for making electrical connections between the plurality of input and output terminals of the integrated circuit chip and the plurality of concentric conductive bands; and means for attaching the disc-shaped module housing to the end of a film cartridge so that the upper surface is exposed for making electrical contact with data recording and reading terminals of camera and film processing equipment.

In accordance with the invention, the attaching means further comprises a disc-shaped layer of insulating material having a first surface for contacting and enclosing the integrated circuit chip and a second surface for contacting the end of the film cartridge, the second surface having an adhesive layer thereon for adhering the memory module to the end of the film cartridge.

In use, the detachable memory module is employed in a system for recording information related to the camera exposure parameters of film image frames for subsequent read-out, wherein the camera further comprises: a camera housing for receiving the film cartridge with the attached memory module in a cartridge receiving chamber; a plurality of contact terminals positioned by the camera housing to extend into the cartridge receiving chamber and bear against and make electrical contact with the respective plurality of concentric conductive bands; and means for providing camera battery power and electrical signals to be stored in the non-volatile memory through the plurality of contact terminals and to the respective concentric conductive bands.

The memory module of the present invention may advantageously employed in such a camera and in associated photofinishing equipment to store the wide variety of data described in the above referenced patents. More particularly, the memory module of the present invention may be readily attached to the end of a standard film cartridge in any position thereon since the conductive bands on the upper surface thereof are not positionally sensitive and contact may be made with the associated read/write contact terminals even if the attachment is somewhat off center.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other objects, advantages and features of the invention will be become apparent from the detailed description given hereinafter in relation to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic elevation view depicting the relation of a camera body and film cartridge and the terminals for making contact with the memory module of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an illustration of the memory module in relation to a film cartridge;

FIG. 3 is top view of the memory module depicting the concentric ring-shaped conductive pattern of the upper surface of the memory module;

FIG. 4 is a cross-section elevation view of the memory module of the present invention showing the package for the integrated circuit memory contained therein;

FIG. 5 is a schematic illustration of the EEPROM integrated circuit incorporated into the memory module; and

FIG. 6 is a circuit diagram of the interconnection of the EEPROM and the read/write circuit.

The drawings are not necessarily to scale.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

Turning now to FIG. 1, it illustrates schematically the relationship of a camera body 10 and viewfinder 12 with respect to a loaded film cartridge 30 having a memory module 40 attached at one end thereof. The memory module 40, when installed, is in electrical contact (in a manner described hereafter) with a terminal set 141 -144 of four terminal pins that are coupled to the camera electronic operating system including the camera electronic control system 18.

The film cartridge 30 has a length of film 32 withdrawn from it and extended across the camera exposure platen 24 and wound on the spool 26 in the typical film loading cavity of the camera body 10. The camera body 10 is modified in accordance with the invention by the incorporation of the terminal set 141 -144 that extends into contact with concentric conductive bands formed on the upper surface of the memory module 40. In this regard, the individual terminals of the set may take the form of spring-loaded, bullet nose pins extending from spring and pin retaining receptacles through a non-conductive retainer wall into the camera body receptacle for the film cartridge 30 as shown in the above-referenced '855 patent. The insertion of the cartridge 30 into the receptacle causes the bullet nose ends of the pins of the terminal set 141 -144 to retract against their springs while riding in contact on the upper surface of the memory module 40.

Turning now to FIGS. 2 and 3, they depict the relationship of the memory module 40 to the cartridge 30 and the configuration of the concentric, ring-shaped, conductive bands 421 -424 formed as printed circuits on the upper surface 44 of the disc-shaped module housing 46. The disc-shaped module housing 46 has an upper surface 44 and a lower surface 48 and a diameter generally corresponding to the diameter of an end of the film cartridge 30. The conductive band 421 is a solid circular conductive dot at the center of the disc-shaped module housing 46. Each of the conductive bands 421 -424 is separated and electrically insulated from the neighboring band by a non-conductive barrier band 501 -504.

Each conductive band 421 -424 is of a width that is greater than the diameter of the contacting end of the bullet nose shaped ends of the pins of the terminal set 141 -144, shown in contact in FIG. 3, so that a fit tolerance is effective to allow for the attachment of the memory module housing 46 somewhat off-center with respect to the end of the film cartridge 30. Too great an off-center attachment error is prevented simply because the so-attached module housing 46 would prevent the insertion of the cartridge 30 into the receptacle in the camera body 10.

FIG. 4 depicts a side cross-section view of the interior components of the memory module housing 46 which, when assembled, form the memory module 40. A disc-shaped upper printed circuit board 46' has the plurality of concentric, circular conductive bands 421 -424 spaced apart and electrically isolated from one another on the upper surface 44 as described above. An integrated circuit chip, e.g. a non-volatile EEPROM chip 60, is attached to the lower surface 48 of the printed circuit board 46' and has a plurality of input and output terminals that are electrically connected by lead wires 521 -524 to printed circuits 541 -544 formed on the lower surface 48. The upper surface conductive bands 421 -424 and lower surface printed circuits 541 -544 are connected together through the printed circuit board 46'.

A schematic illustration of the positioning of the components on the lower printed circuit board surface 48 appears in FIG. 5. The printed circuits 541 -544 formed on the lower surface 48 extend outwardly to the through-holes 581 -584 which extend to the respective upper surface conductive bands 421 -424 and are filled with conductive material. The EEPROM chip 60 may be a XICOR 24C16 or any similar EEPROM.

The EEPROM chip 60 has eight terminals wired as shown in FIG. 6 that are connected to the printed circuits 541 -544 for the regulated voltage Vcc (541), clock SCL (542), serial data SDA (543) and system ground Vss (544) signals. Data is stored and read from the EEPROM 60 under the control of the microcontroller 64 which is coupled through its I/O port section 68 and lines 22 to the terminal pins 142 -144 and which enables voltage regulator 66 to apply regulated voltage Vcc on line 20 to terminal pin 141. The EEPROM 60 may be any suitable integrated circuit memory device including the Mitsubishi M38223M4, having internal pull-up resistors and sufficient output current sinking capability to power the EEPROM 60, or a Motorola M68HC11A8. More than one port pin of the lower current sinking capability Motorola microprocessor may be connected in parallel to the terminal pin 144 if necessary.

In order to conform to the I2 C standard, pull-up resistors must be present on the SDA and SCL control lines. The microcontroller 64 of the camera electronic control system 18 has internally programmable pull-up resistors that principally function to enable proper serial communication with the EEPROM 60. After identification of the port pins connected with the SCL and SDA terminals, the pull-up resistors for the respective port pins connected thereto are programmed in so that these port pins are set to be at a fixed logic level, e.g. 1 or 0. The fixed logic level keeps the I/0 port pin from drifting between clock and data transmissions. Pull-up resistors are not programmed in for the port pin or port pins coupled to the Vss terminal to avoid increasing current consumption demands on the EEPROM 60.

After the memory module 40 and cartridge 30 are positioned as shown in FIG. 1, the electrical connection may be tested by an attempt to read or write data into or from the EEPROM 60. The failure to receive an acknowledge bit signal from the EEPROM may be employed to indicate a failure on a view screen of the camera, alerting the photographer to check for the accurate positioning of the memory module 40 on the end of the cartridge.

Returning to FIG. 4, a layer of insulating, compressible foam material formed in the shape of a foam disc 70, having a recess 72 in its upper surface, contacts and is adhered to the lower surface of the printed circuit board 46' and also encloses the integrated circuit chip 60. The lower foam disc surface 74 has an releasable contact adhesive layer 76 thereon for adhering the memory module to the end of the film cartridge 30. This provides a simple means for releasably attaching the disc-shaped memory module housing 46 to the end of the film cartridge 30 so that the upper surface conductive bands are exposed for making electrical contact with the data recording and reading terminal set 141 -144 of the camera body 10 and other film processing equipment.

It will be understood that the attachment mechanism may take other forms, e.g. a snap-on cap fitting over or within the rim of the film cartridge 30, that can be releasably attached in any orientation. Although the invention is described as having particular application to releasable memory modules, it will be understood that the module could be permanently attached to the film cartridge 30.

In use, the detachable memory module 40 is employed in a camera electronic control system for recording information of the type itemized in the above referenced patents related to the camera exposure parameters of film image frames for subsequent read-out and for other uses as set forth therein. Pre-recorded data may be stored in the memory module specific to various film types and retrieved by the microcontroller for use in the camera electronic control system with respect to the particular type of film (otherwise read-out by the camera) that the module is attached to for use with other data derived from the camera operating systems to affect exposure of each image frame.

Although the invention is described as having particular application to releasable memory modules, it will be understood that the module could be permanently attached to the film cartridge 30.

The attachment of the memory module 40 to the end of the film cartridge 30 is position insensitive, within the general constraint of fitting it centrally to the end of the cartridge. Moreover, attachment is not dependent on the particular configuration of the end nor does it have to be permanent or require modification of standard film cartridges. Consequently, the memory-module may be readily implemented for use with cameras designed with the read/write capability described above but otherwise capable of accepting standard film cartridges with or without the memory module attached. And the photographer may be expected to easily attach the memory module to the standard film cartridge without having to be concerned about precise positioning of the module with respect to the terminal pins.

Although the present invention has been fully described with reference to the preferred embodiments thereof, many modifications and variations thereof will be apparent to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope thereof.

PARTS LIST FOR FIGS 1-6

camera body 10

viewfinder 12

terminal set 141 -144 of four terminals

read/write circuit 16

CPU 18

control line 20

data transfer bus 22

camera exposure platen 24

spool 26

film cartridge 30

film 32

memory module 40

concentric, ring-shaped, conductive bands 421 -424

upper printed circuit board surface 44

disc-shaped module housing 46

disc-shaped upper printed circuit board 46'

lower printed circuit board surface 48

non-conductive barrier band 501 -504

lead wires 521 -524

printed circuits 541 -544

through holes 581 -584

EEPROM chip 60

microcontroller 64

voltage regulator 66

I/O port section 68

foam disc 70

recess 72

lower foam disc surface 74

releasable contact adhesive layer 76

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5710617 *Oct 18, 1996Jan 20, 1998Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd.Film cartridge and film image input system thereof
US5819126 *Jan 15, 1997Oct 6, 1998Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd.Lens-fitted photo film unit and data recording method therefor
US5929974 *Nov 28, 1997Jul 27, 1999Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd.Film cartridge and film image input system thereof
US5995768 *May 28, 1998Nov 30, 1999Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd.Lens-fitted photo film unit and data recording method therefor
US6104883 *Apr 1, 1999Aug 15, 2000Eastman Kodak CompanyMemory module reader
US6157784 *Apr 1, 1999Dec 5, 2000Eastman Kodak CompanyFilm cassette having loosely-retained, reversibly separable memory module, and photographic apparatus
US6192200Dec 23, 1998Feb 20, 2001Eastman Kodak CompanyFilm cassette having memory module, photographic device, and method for registering memory module
US6263165 *Jan 27, 1997Jul 17, 2001Minolta Co., Ltd.Device and method for detecting a rest position of a revolving body, and an apparatus equipped with such a device
US6411779 *Jun 16, 2000Jun 25, 2002Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd.Lens-fitted photo film unit having IC
US6430372 *Dec 6, 2000Aug 6, 2002Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd.Image data recording method and frame image regenerating method
US6938976Jun 16, 1999Sep 6, 2005Eastman Kodak CompanyPrinter and method therefor adapted to sense data uniquely associated with a consumable loaded into the printer
EP1014167A2 *Dec 6, 1999Jun 28, 2000Eastman Kodak CompanyFilm cartridge with a memory module and camera for recording information in said module
Classifications
U.S. Classification396/311, 396/207, 396/208, 396/321
International ClassificationH05K1/18, G11C5/00, G03B17/30, H05K1/11, G03C3/00
Cooperative ClassificationH05K1/181, H05K2201/10689, H05K1/112, G03B2206/002, H05K2201/09772, H05K2201/10159, H05K2201/09027, H05K2201/09809, G03B2206/008, G03B17/30
European ClassificationH05K1/18B, G03B17/30
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Nov 19, 2002FPExpired due to failure to pay maintenance fee
Effective date: 20020920
Sep 20, 2002LAPSLapse for failure to pay maintenance fees
Apr 9, 2002REMIMaintenance fee reminder mailed
Mar 2, 1998FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Jun 4, 1993ASAssignment
Owner name: EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY, NEW YORK
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BRYANT, ROBERT S.;REEL/FRAME:006603/0598
Effective date: 19930525